America is booting up again, and citizens are anxious to get back to a regular routine. President Donald Trump has announced steps to follow for states to relax restrictions. Some states are adopting the presidential directions, but not all. And some, especially in the southern portion of the nation, are choosing to go it alone, making decisions based on their state’s data and information.
Governors in at least 17 states are working with neighbors to coordinate the reopening of their jurisdictions. California, Oregon, and Washington are orchestrating how they will start lifting stay-at-home orders, while seven states in the Northeast and seven in the Midwest are doing the same. The South, however, has chosen strategies independently, regardless of the actions of surrounding areas.
The Republican governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, is taking heavy flak for being the first state in the nation to kick off its economy. His plans include reopening many businesses by Friday, April 24. “We’re trying to take, where we can, our destiny into our own hands,” he said. In terms of reducing restrictions, Kemp has been one of the most aggressive, and he will permit places where social distancing may be difficult to achieve, such as gyms, tattoo parlors, and bowling alleys, to unlock doors this week. By Monday, April 27, movie theaters and restaurants will be back in business.
When asked if he was worried about exposing people to the virus in such public places, the southern governor said, “I’d tell you, what’s worse: going to a grocery store and walking down the aisles with people, or whether it’s being on your own bowling alley lane? We’re not saying these businesses can start having large gatherings at the bowling alley.” Kemp also had a strong message for city governments, reminding them that they cannot do more or less than his order; in other words, they cannot prevent a restaurant or other approved business from opening.
In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee, also a Republican, said that most businesses in his state would reopen as soon as next week. In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster removed the barricades from public boat ramps; next on the list, if social distancing is followed, will be department and specialty stores. Although most local governments declined to reopen beaches, the governor has left the decision up to them to do so when they feel comfortable.
Republican Govs. Tate Reeves of Mississippi and Ron DeSantis of Florida have already allowed their beaches to reopen. Reeves also has lifted some other restrictions, so that curbside pickup and delivery for non-essential businesses can begin soon.
Louisiana has been hit hard with the Coronavirus, experiencing some of the highest contracted and death rates. Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said he’d allow some types of non-emergency medical procedures to begin as early as next week. The stay-at-home order expires on April 30, and Edwards said next steps depend on the state’s improving trajectory.
In Alabama, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey has decided to keep in effect the stay-at-home order through the end of the month. And Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas’ Republican governor, never had a mandate in place, although he did impose some social distancing restrictions.
The southern governments are not coordinating with each other, which has some people concerned that their independent efforts may allow spread of the virus. There are concerns about resort areas, where people may wish to vacation in warmer temperatures. Debbie Borst, an infection control nurse, told the Myrtle Beach City Council in South Carolina, “The public hears one thing, but they don’t realize we don’t have testing available like other cities and states, so I’m worried that they have a false sense of security concerning our numbers.”
Some argue that lifting some restrictions in one state may spike cases in adjoining regions. However, Dr. Richard Oberhelman, an infectious disease specialist at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, said, “Coordination makes sense, but the flip side is different states are in different parts of the epidemic,” so there isn’t “one playbook.”
How much longer will Americans wait to reclaim their freedoms? As Liberty Nation’s Graham J. Noble said, “Until now, the vast majority of Americans have shown remarkable restraint and compliance, considering that some of their constitutional rights were suspended practically overnight and virtually by decree. That compliance was never going to last very long.”
“Specific influential individuals, such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, had even suggested that the national shutdown, along with ‘social distancing’ orders, would perhaps need to remain in force for several more months. Such people fundamentally misunderstand the way Americans would have reacted to that idea. Even two more months of these new rules would likely have led to massive civil unrest – which would have entirely defeated the alleged purpose of the closures.”
That prediction is already in process as last weekend saw thousands of Americans across the nation protest lockdown measures, demanding to be “set free” again. Are Georgia and its southern brothers and sisters wrong to allow reopening sooner than the rest of the nation? LN’s Onar Am pointed out that not every country believes in shutting down the economy. Sweden and Germany, for instance, have suggested the best defense against COVID-19 is herd immunity.
As April comes to a close and May begins the reopening of our nation, all we can do is wait and watch as the newest drama unfolds.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.
For home study students and young people, Liberty Nation recommends…
All About Social Distancing
Elementary School: Social Distancing is Boring, but It Used to Be Worse
Freedom and the Coronavirus
High School: Coronavirus Lockdown Meets Growing Protest
Middle School: Lockdown Protests in States Across America
Elementary School: Americans Protest Coronavirus Lockdown
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